Tips on making movies with universal appeal? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:01 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 176
Tips on making movies with universal appeal?

I was prompted to post this after introducing myself in the new to the neighbourhood forum. I read these types of forums regularly and would love to have some tips on what people find interesting or appealing in videos.

Some background: I make home movies and probably have some kind of infliction/ passion for recording what happens. I have my videos at jeffmurray on Vimeo. I love recording the children growing up so they can look back on their lives and see where it all hopefully went right :-) [mind you since I started this, they complain more about the time I spend on the computer and the embarrassing times I get the camera out].

The problem I face, and judging by what I see on Vimeo something many of us face, is to make our films more universally appealing. Someone wise once said to me - you need to tell a story. It's easy to sit back and think well the story is in the footage, I'll piece it together and it will all be there - most often this is what my videos seems to turn out like.

So far on my short journey in this profession I have found out there elements involved in making things interesting. A short non-comprehensive list is:

1. A great location or event.
2. Camerawork and photography - exposure, composition, angles, time-lapse and time warp, etc [usually well covered on these forums].
3. Something I always miss [because the kids complain about the kinds of equipment needed to do this well, ie: zoom microphones and windsocks]- the audio is it clear and crisp?
4. Variation - don't just film the scenery, action or event- how did people react, what did they feel?
5. Editing - getting the image right - good clear video with great colour depth and definition. Less is more. Keep it short -as short as possible.
6. The storyboard - is there a beginning, middle and ending?
7. Does the sound fit the video - enhance or detract.
8. Graphics - are they attractive and readable - do they enhance the story.
9. The special something.

Not sure how to explain the last point. However I have seen many movies on Vimeo, some of them are breathtaking scenery and the location speaks for itself. Others capture me because of their simplicity - like the series ‘Fifty people, one question’ (
) or another recent one in the 5D2 samples with a lass running around with a sign that says 'I love you' and the film maker catches peoples' reactions to a young lass showing them the sign - very clever. Is content king? Visual and emotional content?

I have Googled the question many times - the shortest answer came from WikiAnswers : good producer, good script, good actors, good director, good editor and good marketing. For those of us doing home movies maybe we’re doomed from the beginning – we have none of these other than an amateur editor.

Some useful links I have uncovered:
What makes a good movie? - Rusty Lime
What Makes A Good Movie
Creative Commons licenses - Jamendo

Well maybe this has started some thought patterns, let's see what people think, comment and contribute - hopefully.

With regards

Jeff
Jeff Murray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:14 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
The story (or idea) always comes first, the rest is just the technical stuff and skills you learn.

You need a main subject that people can empathise with - they don't have to like them as people. There's no simple answer and as screenwriter William Goldman's saying goes "no one knows anything"
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:38 PM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 1,430
This is what I remember in a college television production class:
"Interesting characters + conflict= Good plot for a story"
Warren Kawamoto is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 05:07 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota (USA)
Posts: 2,171
If you don't have a decent script, everything on that list is utterly irrelevant.
Robert M Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 06:31 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,940
To steal a line from the 1937 BBC charter:

"Inform, Educate, Entertain"
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:56 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami, FL USA
Posts: 1,483
May not be applicable to your situation, but at the metro newspaper for which I did web video for several years, it was all about content: (1) anything that sounded like sex was involved (2) sports (3) breaking news. We did real fine documentary pieces, long tail things with high production values, they fell on their keisters. A 45 second clip of a big fire, a badly-done interview with a former porn star who was in town to make a legit movie, an interview with the local university's new quarterback hopefuls, all got boffo hits. It's the you-tube generation, sigh, quality doesn't seem to be a primary motivator. No excuse for bad video, but there you are....../ Battle Vaughan
Battle Vaughan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:28 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 129
Battle, you've just proved that content is king! But I wouldn't say that it has universal appeal, just that it appeals to a certain target audience.

Here's my opinion:

I think that you have a great storyline, interesting characters and a top dramatic twist, but that still doesn't give it a universal appeal. 'Universal appeal' is just that... It's universal. It relys on the plot being connected with a basic human emotion, love, loss, fear, etc, a story which everyone can relate to and not just a particular nation or culture. It should also be set in a place that isn't going to alienate an audience, otherwise some will completely relate to it, others won't allow themselves to become attached in any way.

The technical side should all be good, the camera angles, lens angles, exposure, the audio, editing and everything else, it all portrays a message and if the techniques you're using don't compliment your content then the audience might be unsure of how they feel and not have the desired reaction to an event.

Everything goes towards the appeal of the video/film because it all adds to the communication between the creator and the audience, and universal appeal comes from being able to tell a story that we can all understand. My opinions are based on narrative works, and not news or documentaries, although it does apply to some extent.

I believe that to have universal appeal, it should be a story we've all heard before, just told a different way.
__________________
Aaron Fowler
PMW-EX1 / EOS 60D / EOS 550D / FCS2 / CS4 PP
Aaron Fowler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2010, 02:21 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,521
Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
May not be applicable to your situation, but at the metro newspaper for which I did web video for several years, it was all about content: (1) anything that sounded like sex was involved (2) sports (3) breaking news. We did real fine documentary pieces, long tail things with high production values, they fell on their keisters. A 45 second clip of a big fire, a badly-done interview with a former porn star who was in town to make a legit movie, an interview with the local university's new quarterback hopefuls, all got boffo hits. It's the you-tube generation, sigh, quality doesn't seem to be a primary motivator. No excuse for bad video, but there you are....../ Battle Vaughan
Sounds like the "eat sh**e - billions of flies can't be wrong!' argument.

:-)

I got the impression Jeff was wanting to engage a more discerning audience.
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 4th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #9
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Glasgow, United Kingdom
Posts: 176
Discerning Audience

Not really that fussed on the audience, I can enjoy a good laugh or a bit of gossip like everyone. I did find some great posts in the documentary forum and before I posted this I should have browsed every forum.

The hero, villain and conflict content is under debate in that forum now. However wedding video's don't really have this opportunity and some of them are great, a lot are yawn material too.

My videos I guess are a poor man's Seven Up series. They lack the journalistic style and quality of that series. But I have started talking to my kids in the videos - interviewer style and they hate it. I hope in many years - if I can keep migrating formats so they can still watch this stuff - or as long as Vimeo is still a viable business - they look back and are glad they had someone capture their thoughts.

It would be nice in between if I could be as creative as some of the examples I have seen in here.

I think I have learned lots already from everyone, so thanks very much. I will keep an eye on the doco forum as they are quite interested in content and approaches. Also I should things like Fifty people, one question and do a 'Three Girls, fifty questions' might be a good starting point.

Thanks all - enjoying the converstaion and the tips very much.

With regards

Jeff
Jeff Murray is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:38 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network